Cars and Concepts

Why Toyota will buck convention with '15 Camry update at N.Y. show

It’s been rumored for months and now it’s official. Toyota is updating the Camry for 2015 and will use the media glare of the New York Auto Show next month to showcase its latest mid-sized sedan.

The company said Wednesday the refreshed Camry planned for New York “will challenge conventional expectations of a mid-cycle model change,” and left it at that.

It’s unusual for an automaker to use a prime slot during press previews at a major auto show to only pitch a refreshened model.

But the Camry -- last redesigned for the 2012 model year -- has been the best-selling U.S. car for 12 years. And its grip on the top spot -- and in one of the industry’s key segments -- has slipped.

Mid-sized sedan sales rose just 1 percent last year and are off 11 percent this year through February.

The Honda Accord, Nissan Altima, Ford Fusion, Kia Optima and Mazda6 gained ground on the Camry in 2013. And the Altima edged the Camry in U.S. sales in the first two months of this year.

Camry sales in the United States have topped the 400,000 mark in each of the last two years, and Bob Carter, head of automotive operations for Toyota Motor Sales, has vowed it will remain the nation’s top-selling car in 2014.

After two months of chilled sales, Toyota this week said its March retail deliveries in the United States are running 4 percent above March 2013, in part, because of “strong momentum for Camry.”

Some people describe the current Camry as uninspired.

No doubt Toyota wants to give it more pizzazz under the glow of the Big Apple.

We’ll find out more on April 16.